Bow of the Prophet
An occidental take on the Warhammer Fantasy setting
Based on the Ottoman Empire rather than the Holy Roman; centered on not-Turkey. Paganistic religion centered around worship of “the Prophet”. The Prophet is basically not-Sigmar, complete with his cults and rather interventionist leanings. Other gods include Allatu (not-Shallya), Sa'd (not-Ranald), Al-Qaum (not-Ulric), Myriam (not-Verena), Uzza (not-Myrmidia), and Azrail (not-Morr). The Empire is the largest faction, and is the center of science, philosophy, and innovation.
A force of Graecian-inspired Afghanis, still under construction. The original author sees them as Greco-Bactrians, while a couple others envision them as either Crimean Khans or Polish-Lithuanians. Time will tell what this faction has in store.
The “Dwarfish diaspora”; fantasy Jews thrown out of their homeland after the War of the Beard, and now living throughout the Empire, who both rely on their services and loathe them with a passion. Mostly live in ghettos defended by clay golems, who they also use in war, along with their magical wordsmiths. Their gods are Kharash (Grungni), Kathal (Grimnir), and Khemlia (Valaya).
Inbred and grotesque fairy-men. Their gods have largely abandoned them for no known reason, and they are slowly dying out. They are loathed by Imperials and Dwarves, but are tolerated by the Bretonnians, largely because they worship the same gods that are still around for the elves.
Nordic themed, and this setting’s equivalent to Elves: High Elves are Frost Giants (Rime Jotun), Dark Elves are Fire Giants (Muspel Jotun), and Wood Elves are demon giants (Tröll Jötunn).
It is said by the Jotuns sagas that one of their number will take up the cursed Surtblade and burn all the world. The Rime Jotun defend the blade from their Muspeli brethren, with every battle they postpone the apocalypse by one more day; in contrast, the Muspel Jotun care not for the prophesy, and wish only to feed their pleasures, which might inevitably bring about the apocalyptic events foretold in the sagas. The Tröll Jötunn are outcasts to the rest of their race, finding themselves living in seclusion in the forests, awaiting the day they will be called upon by their kin to aid in the impending doom.
Jade Kings (Tomb Kings)
Chinese empire whose leader, terrified of death, learned the arts of unlife and denied death to all in Cathay. Armies include terracotta warriors as well as mummies and skeletons. Large jade statues take the place of Ushabti and Sphinxes
The Jade Kings are undead kings and emperors of ancient Cathay, roused from their tombs to serve the capricious whims of the ambitious lich, Emperor Qin Huangsi. A nation formed from a dozen rich kingdoms that rose long before the Empire, Cathay experienced a golden age under an unbroken dynasty stretching for centuries. Wealth flowed into the Kingdom, and its people experienced a standard of living where even the poorest live like a noble by the standards of the Empire. But as all things it wasn't too last. The gods, for reasons no one remembers, took back their blessings, and Cathay fell into a state of strife that would see new kingdoms rise, only to fall in a continuous conflict of dominance.
Then came the one who would later become Emperor Qin. Ambitious as he was ruthless, he brought the warring kingdoms back into a single nation under his iron fist. Yet still he feared his own death, for it would mean the fall of his Empire. And worse still, he feared what waited for him after death. Rather than face judgement, he chose to delve into necromancy further than anyone ever had or will. Cathay became a land of the Dead, he became its undying Emperor. With his powers, he raised, the undead monarchs before him, the Jade Kings, named for their mummified bodies covered by an interwoven mesh of jade tablets, rose to serve him and his ever growing army for the rest of time. The time of the Dead is now.
Sanguine Holdfast. Former defenders of the Empire, they’d cull the greenskin forces coming over land. When faced with an impossible foe, all the defenders of the first Holdfast took a stranger's offer, and became nightmares made flesh. After crushing the greenskin forces, they shared their new gift with their fellow Vovoides. Then to test themselves, they demanded more from the Empire to aid them. Then invaded. Instead of hordes of undead, every one is a level of vampire, with the Vovoides producing a dark cloud that shields them from the sun. When the vovoide is slain, they must flee the field, or be burned by the sun. They march to war with fire breathing lizards that support them by a dark pact. Shortly after the attempted conquest of the Empire, the vovoides made a discovery. By consuming the blood of a more powerful vampire utterly, they gained that vampires powers. This turned each Holdfast into a dueling bloodbath, with duels being called, and positions being seized. Therefore to supplement their forces, the vovoides began partially turning humans, making them Thralls, healthier and faster than humans, but far from a vampire. With good service, a thrall can be fully turned.
Monkey men from the jungles of not!India. Led by wise giant orangutans who divine the course of dharma to know when to incubate stone eggs in sacred hot springs to produce more monkeys. Different species of monkeys belong to different castes.
Part man, part snake, part cockroach, spiteful conspirators who seek to bring everyone down to their level. They worship the Forbidden Serpent (a nickname), who leads them via the Secret Masters (their equivalent of the council of 13 and know the true name of the Serpent). Their entire society is a winding labyrinth of initiations, secret signs and mysteries, like a gigantic mystery cult/secret society, with each strata promising more secrets to be revealed, although they always lead to more questions than answers. They will initiate humans into the societies they start, (Mmotia and Jotun already know of their evil) which form the lowest tiers of their culture. When you reach a high enough rank, you are transformed into a Lemurian (this is not widely advertised), which is pretty fucking terrible as you lose your empathy, self-reflection and ability to forgive even the most minor of slights (this is not advertised at all). You are then considered a true part of Lemuria and a higher being than any other race.
A secret perhaps only known to Secret Masters (and maybe not even then) is that the Forbidden Serpent has no ultimate plan other than “make everyone’s lives as shitty as possible”. His priests may talk about the resurrection of Lemuria or the domination of the lesser races, but that’s not truly what it’s about. Lemurians wouldn’t be able to form a stable society if they tried, so they have to be directed in a constant sabotage campaign against all other civilisations. If they managed to wreck the world completely, the Serpent would probably just fuck off and leave them to squabble over who gets the biggest rock to bash the other’s brains in. So, pathetic like Skaven, but for a different reason.
Once the kingdom of Lemuria stood proud on an island. Separated from the fractious mainland, they thrived in isolation, becoming masters of science and magic, fusing the two together. They became proud and disdainful of the outside, after all what could be worth seeking beyond Lemuria? One day a mysterious foreigner arrived. Blind, he was seeking refuge from the wars of the mainland and asked for sanctuary on the island. The Lemurians accepted him as an oddity and said they would keep him for three days and three nights. On the first day, they showed him their marvels and the stranger was awed by their architecture and their many advancements. The Lemurians were assured of their superiority, but when the stranger began to question why they did not bring such advancements to the mainland, his hosts were irritated and reminded him that they were already doing him a service. The stranger apologised and remained quiet for the rest of his tour. On the second day the Lemurians asked the stranger about the mainland. He told of their difficult conditions and simple lives. The Lemurians were again assured of their superiority, but when the stranger asked for some baubles and trinkets, as each was a marvel to his simple people, his hosts were again annoyed and reminded him that they were already doing him a favour by keeping him. The stranger apologised and remained silent for the rest of the day. However, as the third day became the third night, the Lemurians had bored of the traveller. Coming together in secrecy, they decided that casting him out before the third night was done would be very amusing and did just that. The foreigner could do nothing against their mystical arts and was quickly spirited back to his boat at the docks. As he was tossed into the boat he loudly declared; "Though my eyes may be gone, I pity you the most. Your indifference has made you lame, your spite has made you deaf and your arrogance has made you blind.” The Lemurians simply laughed at the traveller and sent him on his way.
On the first day of the traveller’s absence, a great swarm of cockroaches flew from the mainland, descending like a cloud on Lemuria. What they did not devour, they putrefied and no violence nor communion could remove the swarm. For every hundred that died and thousand fed and bred on their bodies. On the second day, a great hoard of snakes came from below Lemuria, aroused by the whirring of the cockroaches. At first the Lemurians rejoiced for the snakes attempted to eat the insects. But the swarm simply flew into the air where the snakes could not reach them, so the enraged snakes started to attack the Lemurians instead. With every bite they injected burning venom, killing within seconds and causing the bodies to bloat and swell with corpse gas. On these corpses the cockroaches would feed. On the third day, the weight of the snakes and cockroaches and the bloated bodies of the bitten was too much for the island, sinking it into the ocean, drowning every Lemurian. But the punishment didn't end there. The waters filled with alchemical mixtures and mystical relics and the Lemurians, the snakes and the cockroaches all fused together until there was no distinction between them. They were filled with the directionless spite of a snake, all the indifference to suffering of a cockroach and the towering arrogance of a man. So, if you ever throw a guest out of your home before 3 days have passed, you will be cursed, just like the Lemurians! - A common story told to children in The Empire, its origin unknown
'On my further study of this story's origin, I found an additional verse. "And as the mutated bodies sank below the waves they heard a voice like the whirring of a thousand wings, the rubbing of a thousand scales and the whispering of a thousand mouths, offering them life if they accepted it's mysteries. They agreed and they fell within its Coils." While the description of the Lemurians’ horrific transformation is disturbing enough, it serves a function as a boogieman. But this underwater encounter seems to serve no purpose in the narrative. The term Coils was frequently capitalised in earlier records. I will attempt to investigate further.' From the personal journals of the late Jerome of Burs
Currently rampaging through not-Europe? Alternate suggestion is Korean tae kwon do wuxia ogres.
Orcs and Goblins
“Gorka-WAAAAAGH!” “Morka-WAAAAAAAGH!” Currently under debate. General agreement is on making them European-themed religious (Gork and Mork-worshipping) “Krusaders”, but jury’s still out on whether they should be doing it for some “big joke” they forgot the punchline of or because that’s just how orcs are in this universe.